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Byrd adds funding for federal projects

June 20, 2000|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd on Tuesday added $29 million to an appropriations bill that would fund a new $5.2 million dormitory at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife training center near Shepherdstown, W.Va.

The money that Byrd added to the bill would also pay for $1.2 million in building improvements at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, according to a press release from Byrd's office.

The Fish and Wildlife Service's National Conservation and Training Center off Shepherd Grade Road is used to train agency researchers from around the country as well as employees from other federal agencies.

Byrd, D-W.Va., said the center's successs "has literally surpassed its capacity," requiring a third dormitory to be built.

The $1.2 million for Harpers Ferry National Historical Park will be used to repair and modernize park buildings, Byrd said.

Staff at the park are charged with preserving and restoring buildings at "one of our nation's great historic landmarks," but many of the buildings where that work is done are in need of improvements, Byrd said.

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Byrd also included language in the bill to require the National Park Service to conduct an outreach effort to determine if there is consensus in the county on expanding the 2,300-acre park.

The Harpers Ferry Conservancy has been concerned about a proposed $24.9 million firearms training facility Byrd is backing because the 327 acres being considered for the facility would represent about one-third of the land the organization wanted to add to the park.

Despite the group's interest in enlarging the park, Byrd said he is concerned about community division over the issue, based partly on a split vote by the Jefferson County Commissioners to expand the park.

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